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Stunning Syrah from the northern Rhône

Northside Staff Tasters: Dave Pohl, ed., Dana Malley, Barry Manville, Jason Wentworth

The wildly popular premier wine grape of Australia, Shiraz, makes its classic home in France’s northern Rhône River valley. Here, known as Syrah, it produces small quantities of full-bodied red wine that, at its best, can rival the finest wines of Bordeaux and Burgundy.

The greatest northern Rhône reds come predominately from the steep, celebrated slopes of Hermitage and Côte Rôtie. These are justifiably famous wines, and famously expensive as well, often costing upwards of $150 per bottle. Fortunately, the less well known vineyards of Cornas, Crôzes-Hermitage, and Saint-Joseph also produce very fine Syrah-based wines at more affordable prices.

The staff at Northside Wine & Spirits recently conducted a blind tasting of 19 red wines from these latter three districts.

The top ranked wine was the lovely and delicious Tardieu Laurent 2003 Saint-Joseph "Les Grandes Bastides," priced at $29.99 per bottle[Sku 9318].*
Judged the most elegant and balanced wine of the tasting, it bested several much more expensive wines. (Prices ranged from $17 to $75.)

Its nose bursts from the glass, hinting at blackberry, cassis, flowers, and vanilla. Its flavors mirror the nose, and while the wine is very flavorful and long, it is not at all heavy.

Save this beauty for a special occasion to pair with full-flavored dishes such as braised meats, stews, grilled sausages and kebabs, game, or roasted vegetables.

"Top Wine Picks" as seen in The Ithaca Journal 03/12/2007

Northside Wine & Spirits is located in the Ithaca Shopping Plaza on Elmira road.

Phone 607-273-7500

*To purchase this wine, simply type its "Sku" into the "Find" field at the top of the page, and then click "Go."

If you would like the full tasting list along with the rankings, please email us your name, phone number, city, and zip code to

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